Home > All Mercertown Blog Posts, CSA 2010, Industry Changes, Safety > STAYING UNDER THE CSA 2010 RADAR


Judging from the calls I get and the large number of drivers who have stopped by my office, more folks are taking the time to educate themselves about CSA 2010 and adjust their driving habits to effectively operate within this new reality. Those who don’t, or won’t, will be out of the industry.  I think everyone is starting to figure that out.  Here are a few more thoughts to share:

First, CSA 2010 will have absolutely no effect on 42% of Mercer drivers. These ladies and gentlemen go about their business every day without tickets, accidents or DOT violation writeups. Talk about low profile, these drivers have it figured out and are already dealing with it effectively.  They are going to be fine.

For everybody else, there are some common sense things that can be done to minimize the likelihood of having a bad encounter with CSA 2010 on the roadside. First, don’t speed. The majority of our inspections come from a driver being pulled over for speeding. Under CSA 2010, 55mph doesn’t mean 59mph, or 62mph. It means 55mph. The same with 65mph. It is not 68mph, or 73mph. It means 65mph. You don’t “get” 5mph anymore, or 7mph, or 1mph. The speed limit means what it says as far as commercial drivers are concerned. Going “with the flow of traffic” no longer cuts it. If you just can’t keep your foot out of it, I strongly suggest you go by your dealer and have it speed-governed at 65mph. That’s how important not getting a “speeding” writeup is going to be. Remember, it’s the writeup, not whether or not you get a ticket.

Wear your seatbelt. Cops look for that. Under CSA 2010, it also counts. If the officer can’t see that it is being worn properly, the unit has just become an inspection target. I’d stick an orange piece of reflective tape on it so there wouldn’t be any doubt. Seriously.  Get the dark tint off your windows. That  counts on CSA 2010 scores. Trucks with dark window tint aren’t cool, they are targets for law enforcement. We don’t need targets at Mercer. That’s a hint. Keep your log current to the last duty change. That means start your day. Don’t count on getting a green on PrePass. They shut them off to keep drivers honest. If you can’t resist the temptation to gamble with it, I suggest you turn in your PrePass.

On a sunny day, the dirty truck always gets looked at first. Especially the wheels. Dirty engines get more attention than clean engines.  Dirty straps get added attention. Clean straps don’t. Dunnage across the landing gear always gets a special look, as does the first pallet or bundle on the load. No matter how legal you think you got it, my advice is to put one more on the front. Always. No matter what.  At night, a burnt out or non-functioning light is screaming, “Please inspect me!” Straps with cuts are junk. Missing retroreflective tape is a cop magnet.

The three most frequent writeups at Mercer are speeding, defective or missing load securement, and logs not current. Law enforcement knows this about our fleet because they have access to it just like we do.  When they see a Mercer unit, they know that statistically there is a good chance that they can write one of those violations. Avoid those three, don’t draw attention with window tint, no seatbelt use or defective lighting, and the odds of having a good day increase significantly.  Remember, 42% of our drivers have already figured that out.  It is not impossible. We have folks that do it every day.

  1. January 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

    For the folks that put their seatbelt on when getting to the scales , I was in the scalehouse at scott co. ky. a few weeks ago and they had a camera (never seen where it was) showing still shots of drivers going down the interstate (not the scale road) and lets just say it was NOT hard to tell who had their seat belt on or off . it was kinda shocking that the shot was as good as it was but thats another issue. Im not a big fan of seatbelts ….but I do like to keep a low profile”the tint is gone , and the seatbelt is on”

  2. Bill Vanderlinden
    January 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    My truck is a 1986 and does not have a sholder belt Ihave ben stoped several times as they though that i did not have my seat belt on I allways wear it !!!! What now????????????????????

  3. Len Dunman
    January 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Cory, Kentucky is testing a variety of scanning and visual recognition devices. Some are fixed, some mobile. I don’t know which one caught you, but since they are designed to pick up plates and DOT numbers at speed, scanning the cab for seat belt use is probably no big deal. You’ll see more on this by late summer or fall. Guys, they KNOW you try to buckle up right before the scales. Go figure.

    We have several guys in the same shape as Bill. He is legal because it is the original equipment on his truck. Since most DOT officers cannot tell an 86 from a 93 or a 2008, that will be a continual problem. Bill, you are gonna get stopped, but if the cop knows his book, it will show all you need is the seatbelt. If you get written up anyway, it will be one we’ll have to protest to get removed. No easy answer for that one. Be polite and helpful and thank the kind officer for his concern.

  4. Larry Camp
    January 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Ok so CSA 2010 is bening used to thin out the heard so will that bring whos left up to Professional drivers or will we still be thought of as unskilled labor. with all the rules and regs. that are put on us that we keep up with when will we gain the respect we as professionals deserve? I for one will do all I can to stay off the screen but I just think whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  5. Len Dunman
    January 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I agree with you, Larry. And as your favorite Safety Director, that is why I drug test and post any ticket I get in the Drivers Lounge. That’s why I took the radar detectors out of my pov’s and off of my Harley. I don’t believe in holding you folks to a standard I wouldn’t be willing to comply with. I wrench my own vehicles and always have.

    That being said, I think in about a year from now the public, at least the shipping public, will have a much greater respect and appreciation for drivers, since there will probably be 15-20% less of them out there. Already there is something like 6% of total truck capacity idle. Several more carriers will fail before this thing straightens out and everyone begins to make money again. These factors will tighten the market up considerably.

    There is no doubt CSA 2010 will thin the herd…..both the driver herd and the carrier herd. We all have to do it right, give it our best and stay at the top of our game. Being professional is the name of the game. No write-ups, no accidents, no attitude. That’s what it takes. Fortunately we have a great bunch of drivers and most of them walk the talk every day.

  6. Lynn Taylor
    January 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Believe me they will pull you over for window tint in Iowa off, the side of the interstate! Our window tint wasn’t very dark, a lot of trucks have way darker tint then ours was. I say was because we removed it, that was no easy task!! For those who need to remove window tint follow these tips and do not waste your money on goo gone,alcohol and similar products.
    1. use a razor blade to scrape the tint as you pull it off.
    2.use hot water with dawn det. keep soaking the window and scraping the window with that razor blade.
    3.have a lot of patience, or pay someone else to do the job!

    • Jason Schaftlein
      January 30, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      Window tint sucks. Putting it on, or taking it off! I say bust the window out, and buy a new one!

  7. ken
    February 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    how about increasing fuel surcharge,and some of the rates,took a load out massena ny, pretty sad at 1.25 but I was within 50 miles took a chance, sorry I did, and won’t do it again,will dead head home before talking a load to tx, to sit on a board for a couple of days to take a another cheap load.

    • Jason Schaftlein
      February 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Ken, I agree. Increasing fuel surcharge, and increasing linehaul rates would be a great reward for staying safe and compliant. It’s just not an easy task to raise rates, especially when our business is so very competitive. I don’t really want to go into it on the blog, so I will shoot you an email with my thoughts.

  8. Glenn Thorpe
    February 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I just wonder if Mercer has thought the pre-pass cut off thru. OK the first week in Jan I get stopped on a back road in Ks. As the nice man with the gun stepped into the street and waved me over to stop on the side of the road. as he stepped up to the truck he ask where we were going, I said just down the road to a air museum. And we were off duty line one. Then we were told he would do a level 2 inspection. after the inspection I got a OOS for being down only 9.5 hrs prior to leaving for the museum. Now to my point. The day Mercer turned off the pre-pass we has to go into ever scale we went thru to show our papers (no 2010 IFTA sticker on truck) and a level 3 inspection. Thinking about this the next day I got to thinking by turning off the pre pass our chances of getting some kind of violation has incressed by 100% due to the fact we have to enter every scale. Things happen beyond our control believe it or not. Example- The next day my wife is driving things are fine all day no problems, Then she pulls into a fuel island and gets out. I get into the seat and decied to park and get someting to eat. As I pull forward to the parking area I step on the clutch and the break and the truck continues to try to go forward. I had to shut it off to keep from running into another truck, (NO CLUTCH) what if this had happened entering a scale?????????? we had no idea this was going to happen. Im sure i would be OOS again, not my fault. Or what if you run over something and have a major cut in a tire. Do you know about it?????????? Did a trailer light wire come lose that you are not aware of???????????And the list can go on. all of these things are more likey to be found at the scale before you get a chance to discover them on your own.

  9. Glenn Thorpe
    February 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Now lets say Mercer has 1800 drivers. then they turn off 500 pre passes for 6 month each driver has one violation Mercer has 500 violations. then as I stated befor the odds have increased many times over that the scales will find a problem before we get a chance during a pre or post inspection. Dont get me wrong if we screw up we need to pay up. but I just think a 6 month pree pass cut off is excessive due to the fact that the odds of more OOS increases many many many times over. Maybe fist time 1 month, second time 3 months, 3rd time 6 months or more depends on violations. I just feel Mercer is putting there saftey rating on the line more than they need to. We all want Mercer to keep the highest saftey rating they can because it effects us all.

  10. Joseph W. Pyles
    August 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Lets start off with saying I’m just as human as the next one. I make my share of mistakes & oversights. At the same time I don”t have any problem staying somewhat under the 2010 radar. I do my deal in a safe consistant fashion every day. I dress well, try to keep me & my units clean.(no cutoff shorts or sweats, flip flops, sandals or dirty run down tennis shoes & no dirty T shirts) All hair is respectably cut & trimed and my trk, trl & securement equip dosen”t look like a rolling junkyard. Everyday I have to tell myself, Be Careful Be Careful! Don’t speed and be READY FOR ANYTHING. When I ld I look at the ld in the same fashion,,,,Safe Leagal & READY FOR ANYTHING. Extra straps? A couple more chains? Yeah it”s too hot out here today,,,,Man it”s just too cold,,,,DON”T BE TO LAZY TO BE TO SAFE! Mind u now the Man with the Badge has a very strong likelihood of finding SOMETHING, so we have to tyr hard to stay as right & safe as we can & practice this EVERY DAY & maybe we can stay just under the radar. Ride easy & stay safe. TY.

  11. ck trans
    September 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    i think a 3 camera position would help /w non edit hard drive.but us drivers need to know you have our backs,we are taking alott of responsibility in our line of work.losing a job and be threatened with it,and we have heard alott of that here.wee have special accounts here,that need special equipment,losing a job means more than no mercer.hell. i lost my last job for a twist in my strap,have faith in us and never lie to us.we have alott of equipment involved in these threats,we want lease security,a bill of rights,if you will,and more input…you office people only look at a computer screen its different world out here,before a driver is canned there should be a pannel of drivers agree with said firing.i would hate to think some people get fired because they are statisticly unpopular.
    everyone hates a redneck till thier car breaks down.im just saynn

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